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The Wildcat Speakers

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Winning a state championship really opens doors all over Texas.

Members of the Sulphur Springs football coaching staff have spent a good portion of the off-season traveling the state telling how it was done.

Wildcat head coach Greg Owens presents the entire picture of how the third place team in District 13-4A got on a roll and finished 14-2 and a state title.

At these speaking engagements, Jeff Riordan offensive coordinator tells about the screen game and the NASCAR offense. Defensive coordinator Matt Young tells about how to stop the run and other facets of the Wildcat defense.

So far the coaches have spoken at the Nike Coach of the Year clinic, the DFW coaches clinic, the Gilmer Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the University of Texas clinic, West Texas clinic in Lubbock and later they will go back to Lubbock for a clinic at Texas Tech. Riordan said it has been fun to travel and speak with coaches. "It's kind of been intimidating for me, I spoke to one group and my high school coach was in the audience, another time Mack Brown (University of Texas head coach) was out there," Riordan said. "Us doing this is the result of our kids buying into to what we were coaching and putting in the hard work to win the state championship."

"We did a powerpoint presentation on our screen game,"Riordan said. "The pace of our offense, how we practice and the fundamental things we believe in. If you explain how everyone is important from the center getting the ball back to the quarterback, to the blocking and how everyone is involved to make it successful.  We use the screen games to wear defenses down and run them sideline to sideline. We tell all about our plans and how it worked last season. Other coaches appreciate it, we're not hiding anything. The blocking assignments and cut up of film in 55 minute or hour and a half sessions. Then we go into individual blocks with coaches who want to get some individual instruction."

Young was light hearted when describing his speeches. He said, "Our running joke or the name of our speech is how to give up 49 points and still win the state championship game."

"They all appreciate that," Young said. "We talk about the games we play on the front line, the movements we do. We get to break out and share ideas and get their ideas. I have been humbled by it and its a neat thing to get to do."

Owens said, "We get to go and share, but we are picking up things and learning.We're being paid to speak to these groups, but we are learning also and it makes us better. Because we won state we get to go to clinics we would not get to go to on our own. We get to go and learn from these coaches."

Owens said usually his staff attends about two clinics per year.

"The neat thing about the University of Texas clinic is that all 10 state championship football coaches from this year were there all at one time," Owens said. "Five of them spoke and the other five were on a panel. It was a great thing to meet these people and learning things from them. At colleges we got to see them practice and play."

Owens said meeting high school and college coaches have got him excited about the next football season.

"We have the clinic coming up at Texas Tech, that's excited because we run that style of offense," Owens said. "It's a chance to visit and get new ideas."

Owens said he also tells at the clinic about the importance of team chemistry and things which worked in Sulphur Springs like the coffee with the coaches and the involvement of the school and the community.

"The community had a big role in the success of this team," Owens said. "We bring that out when we speak. We share that idea with other coaches. We were a good team, not the most talented team. The chemistry makes a big difference. The coach from Lake Travis spoke on that and I learned from him, how they created that bond and got everybody to play together. You have to have talented players to win big time, but the key is getting them to all play well as a team."

Owens said he is glad his staff to is getting to take advantage of speaking engagements and clinics from doors opened by the team winning the state championship.

"We usually go out to the clinics, we don't go listen to coach of a team that went 1-9, It's the same way with us, we have the credibility of winning state," Owens said. "You want to pick the brains of the coaches who win state or make deep runs every year. That's the people you want to talk to and pick their brains. Now everybody wants to know our secret.”




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